HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. -- For one Air Commando, a life-long dedication to a hobby has earned him a spot on Air Force Special Operation Command’s team for the 20th Annual Air Force Marathon at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, in September.
Lt. Col. Christopher Fields, a mobility requirements manager with Air Force Special Operations Command, grew up playing a wide variety of sports, but didn't begin running competitively until high school.
"I started running cross-country in 11th grade as a means to stay in shape and condition myself," Fields said.
After graduating from Mississippi State University and commissioning through Officer Training School in 1999, the Mississippi native continued to pursue his passion in running.
"As I've gotten older, I have gotten into endurance sports," said the lifelong athlete. "This year I have done a half-marathon, a handful of 5ks, two Olympic-distance triathlons and a half Iron Man," Fields said.
An Olympic Triathalon consists of a 24.8-mile bicycle ride, .93-mile swim and a 6.2-mile run while a half Ironman consists of a 56-mile bicycle ride, 1.2-mile swim and a 13.1-mile run
Fields' next 13.1 mile journey is scheduled to kick-off at 8:30 a.m., Sept. 17 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.
"I believe when you're training for an event like this, psychologically we think we can do it, but when you go out and increase your time - whether it's on a bike, run or a swim - you realize the limits of your body," he said. "Compare that limit to what you have to accomplish and that's motivation enough to continue."
To get more insight and establish a workout schedule, Fields has sought the advice of triathlon coach Karen Meadows.
“Chris is in excellent shape and has a very good fitness base for participating in events like marathons,” Meadows said. “He is a very good runner.”
Meadows helped Fields’ develop a training plan to prepare him for events like the upcoming Air Force Marathon.
"I'm putting in 20-30 hours a week of swimming, biking and running," said Fields. "As a result of that, I think I'll be well prepared to run a good half-marathon time."
The single father of two admits the schedule is very demanding while balancing work and family, but his hobby is something he wants to pass on to his kids.
“Running is something I do to set the example for them,” Fields said. “I want them to see me running and exercising to set an example of life-long fitness.”
For his upcoming race, Fields has set a goal to finish in an hour and a half as he crosses the finish line representing AFSOC.